In 2002 I was programming PIC microcontrollers with a Warp-13A programmer:
This was the setup on my desk. Guess what you get when you connect a programmer (Warp on the left) to a PIC16F84A plus EEPROM (I2C) and a UV40 GPS receiver. Yep, that's a GPS logger circa 2002 technology. Shocking.
As I moved the programmer around on my desk it shorted out on a few bits of wire and my $150 programmer went up in smoke. I was an in-debt student with no money for the first programmer let alone a replacement. The cheapest, best programmer I could find came from Olimex in Bulgaria. In 2002, the website didn't have online checkout so I decided it might be good to start a website that sold Olimex parts. Over the Christmas break from school SparkFun.com was cobbled together.
This was our booth at Robothon in Seattle, WA in 2004. All it takes is a logo on a polo shirt and people think you're more than a guy sending stuff out of a bedroom.
Who thought we'd make it this long? Not me. I remember showing my roommates the first SparkFun order and realizing that I didn't even have a box to put the order in! That was January 3rd of 2003. After that day it was a roller coaster ride to 135 employees, 500 designed SparkFun products and over 650,000 boxes shipped.
Thanks to all the folks who've helped support SparkFun over the past 10 years. You've helped us grow. And if you've been paying attention, you're part of an amazing metamorphosis of the electronics world. Every time I hear that a class of 8th graders are learning how to blink LEDs I realize that we're making a difference. I also get the uneasy feeling that I could easily be replaced by a 15 year old in a few years time.
Thanks to all the amazing people who work or have worked at SparkFun over the years. You've helped make an amazing place that I enjoy heading to every morning. I look forward to the ride for many more years.